This week’s matchup between the Las Vegas Raiders and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers was a great game from start to finish. It started off with some scoring and good ball movement by Las Vegas, until they hit a wall. The wall that they hit is the same one I’ve been preaching since week 2, the defense. Todd Bowles has done an unbelievable job with this club and he should be in serious consideration for a head coaching job once the season is up. Let’s dive into some key points for the week.
One thing to be said is that the Raiders had just come off of a bye week, so they had extra time to prepare for the Bucs. The week before that, they beat the defending Super Bowl champion Chiefs in a shootout. This outing tied them for the least amount of points they have scored this season, which is 20. Aside from the opening drive touchdown that they had, Las Vegas had some trouble moving up and down the field against this caliber of defense. They have now had an interception in six straight games. When a team has two weeks to prepare for you, and they struggle to score, you know you are doing something right.
Now of course we have to bring the offense into account. They were exceptional and were doing it mainly by air raid. Tom Brady has been able to work Rob Gronkowski back into shape, and it has worked wonders for them. He originally said he came here to block, but now it looks like he came here to catch passes too. Him along with the offensive line has been excellent as of late, and haven’t given up a sack in two weeks now. But if this offense wants to reach it’s ceiling, they need Gronk to be able to take some coverage off of Chris Godwin and Mike Evans.
Also, the emergence of Scotty Miller has been an amazing sight to see. Brady has always loved his slot receivers, and Scotty has fallen right into this mold for him. He racked up 109 yards and a touchdown on six catches against this Raiders defense.
Aside from the 45 points they just put up in a win, this offense has gotten some even better news than that. They have just signed one of the best receivers of this generation in Antonio Brown who is eligible to play for them after his eight week suspension is uplifted. Bruce Arians said that he will just be an insurance policy since the offense had some early blips in their receiving core’s health.
We ALL know that AB is not an insurance policy, as he will be arguably the best receiver on this roster immediately. I do think that once he learns the offense and gets his timing with Brady down, this may be the most underrated move of the season. Not only did Tampa just strengthen their already immensely talented offense, they kept him away from another contender who could have gotten him.
Going forward, we will see if the offense can keep rolling and the defense can keep creating turnovers to grant them short fields. After this performance, it’s hard to say they aren’t the best team in the league right now.